, , , , , , , , , , ,

Oedipus, Farsighted, and Kung Fu Panda 2. What do they have in common? In each, a character brings about their own Fate by acting to avoid it.

Oedipus learns of a prophesy that he will kill his father and marry his mother. What he doesn’t know, is that he’s adopted. He runs away from home, trying to keep the prophesy from coming true. Thinking he is away from his parents, he stabs a stranger on the road and marries an older woman, thinking he has won. As it turns out, the stranger was his father and woman, his mother. By running away from the people he thought were his parents, he brought about the prophesy trying to avoid it.

This post includes spoilers for Kung Fu Panda 2 but none for Farsighted.

While the ending is more relevant to this point, I’ll use an example from the beginning. In chapter three, Alex has not learned he is having premonitions.  He reacts to what he perceives as bullying by sticking his cane out into the isle and tripping the bully. Since Alex had seen a premonition, the bully reacts to Alex tripping him, by bullying him. At the end of the book, the character’s attempts to stop something is what causes it.
Read the related chapter 3 excerpt here.

Kung Fu Panda 2
The evil peacock is told he will be defeated by a warrior of black and white. He becomes obsessed with killing pandas; even when he could have won. At the end of the movie, the ships have passed through the city canals with nothing to stop them from sailing out and conquering China. Po stands on an inconsequential swell of land. Chance are, if the ships had tried to sail around him, he would have been unable to stop all of them. Instead, they fire cannon balls at him and he deflects them. After the first few, he is able to aim them back at the ships, sinking them with their own weapons. Their firing on him caused their defeat.

While I forgive Alex for being a zealous teenager, and understand Kung Fu Panda is a kid’s movie, I want to shake Oedipus and tell him he’s an idiot. I argued this point with my philosophy in Greek literature professor, but if you’re really trying not to kill your dad and marry your mom, don’t go stabbing people and don’t marry anyone older than you. Period. That is what bothers me about the Greek system of Fate being inescapable.

Are there any other works where you notice this theme?